|When is Rugby World Cup?|
|What is Rugby World Cup?|
Founded in 1987, the Rugby World Cup is an international rugby tournament that is hosted every year by the International Rugby Board (IRB). The winner of the competition received the William Webb Ellis Cup, which was named after the supposed creator of rugby - William Webb Ellis. According to a popular myth, he created the game by suddenly picking up the ball during a football (soccer) match.
Originally, sixteen teams competed in the tournament but that number has grown to include twenty teams. Another change from the original World Cup of Rugby is the qualification process. Early on, the sixteen teams were chosen by including the seven eligible IRB countries and then the eleven remaining spots were filled by invitations. Now, the twenty spots are filled in by a rather simple qualification process. The twelve nations who finish third or better in the group/pool stages (four groups) of the previous competition automatically qualify for the next tournament. The remaining eight nations earn a spot in the Rugby World Cup by conteinental qualifying competitions.
The current twenty team format includes two stages - group stage and knockout stage over a six week period. There are four groups with five nations in each. Teams are seeded based on the IRB World Rankings. Each country plays a minimum of four matches, one against every nation in their pool. After group play, the winner and runner-up of each group pool qualify for the knock-out stage. The knock-out stage features the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and then the Rugby World Cup Final.